Thursday, September 23, 2010

Navajo Nights

 It was 45 years ago that Navajo artist Jay DeGroat began telling me Dine creation tales and I started writing them down with the thought of one day making them into a book. 

Our first collaboration was printed in Santa Fe and published by David Kherdian of The Giligia Press.  The book was called The Shivurrus Plant of Mopant.  These were not Navajo stories -- they were poems written by children in a writing workshop that I taught.  Jay liked the poems and did illustrations for the book, and it was a good beginning for us.

Over the years, Jay and I did many books but my favorite collaboration is the ancient Navajo healing stories he told about Coyote and Badger and Nuthatch and the other animal people.  They all became part of a series of books that Speaking-Volumes has just now re-released.  Composer Ray Griffin adds unique sounds and his own brand of high desert jazz, sound effects and the voices of Frog, Toad, Bat and more.  Even more than the books I've written, these live recordings bring us to a  a place that has been unchanged for thousands of years.  Special thanks to the one Jay, three Rays and a Rae, and one Jimmy Blueeyes.

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